July 21, 2017
This trip was long waited. We wanted to hike this trail 4th of July weekend, but with a solid winter that left snowpacks still on the trail, we opted to wait it out until more snow melted. And it was worth the wait! Maybe we should have even waited even longer for more wildflowers to bloom. There was plenty, but some areas you can see many are yet to bloom.
Before I begin to talk about the trail, I want to mention that all the roads I’ve driven to the trailhead in Trinity are unpaved and very bumpy. This one in particular had big boulders and dips. I don’t know how the lower clearance cars made it. Just be cautious and go very slow when you do make it out.
We first started off through the woods and it was nice being covered, but it isn’t as nice as when you get past it all to the exposed portion, that’s when it really opens up and you see how beautiful it is. From that point on it’s nothing shy of stunning.
This trail is 7 miles all uphill to just to Summit Lake with an elevation gain of 5,000 feet about 14 miles round trip and the other lakes about 5 additional miles. So be prepared. We were hoping to score the one and only campsite at Diamond Lake, unfortunately other backpackers beat us to it so Summit Lake it was. Summit Lake is holds most people so yeah, you’ll have company. Deer Lake is the other one you can camp at, but there isn’t much space and doesn’t have any shade. At Luella Lake we did see one guy whom seem to have the only spot. A couple of great things about camping at Summit Lake is shade and lots of wood to build a fire. We all attempted to start our first fire and success!
The next morning we decided to day hike to the other two lakes, Diamond and Luellea which was about 5 miles, and then climb up Siligo Peak with hopefully enough time to chill at our campsite and lake.
We loved the hike down to Diamond Lake and this backdrop is unlike any other – SO FREAKIN’ GORGEOUS!!! We spent a little time taking it all in and of course capturing the moment. Then off to Luella we went.
Even from seeing it from the top, we knew Luella was going to be a stunner. It was the prettiest lake even more than Diamond (in a different way) so we decided to spend a little time soaking it all up. Swim, dry, lunch. It was 100 degrees that day so the lakes were much needed. After that cool dip and some snacking by the lake, we set off to finish up the loop back to Deer Lake we go. Between Luella and Deer lakes it was about 1,000 feet of elevation gain.
Along our descend down to the meadow, we stumble upon another smaller lake, or more like a pond. It didn’t look to enticing to explore and we wanted to stay on track to Deer Lake so we continued on. I do find myself in the middle of the meadow full of wildflowers right before we started our ascend, and I couldn’t get over all the types of flowers and colors we’ve been seeing all in one spot.
At times the climb felt steep because of the direct sun exposure and heat. Near to our destination we came across a patch of snow and I just wanted to roll around in it, but we only stoped briefly to catch our breath and take some sips of water. As we continued on our climb I started to hear a rush of water, that led to a short waterfall, and just like that a few steps up was Deer Lake. It felt so good to see it because we just wanted to jump into the lake. A quick dip and we were headed back up toward camp.
Once we climbed up from Deer Lake at the top off to the right was the path to Siligo Peak. At this point we were exhausted from the heat, hungry, and had only a few sips of water left in our bladders. With one foot in front of another we slowly but surely summited an additional 500 feet to the peak. After a few gazes and mandatory photos from the top, we finally made our way back to camp.
Compared to what we’ve been walking, it was a short hike down that only took us 10 minutes. What was first – dip in the lake to cool off or eat?! First things first, shoes off, sandals on towards the water we went. It felt incredible to give our achy feet a soak but really to wash off all the layers of sunscreen and bug spray. Dinner was followed right after and boy did I feast! Earlier in the day we wanted to make another campfire but our tried bodies couldn’t even dare, so we just kicked back and relax what was left of the day.
Our last day. Even though the hike back was all downhill, we wanted to get an early start so we had time to drive back home and eat a proper meal. The great thing about starting at 6am, is you rise with the sun and see the early morning light hit the mountain peaks. And it’s not scorching hot! The down and out was even more beautiful seeing mountain groomed with flowers and the valley within sight…and that means almost to the car and back home for hot showers and eats.